Thursday, August 28, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Per Capita Davis: UC Davis is putting us on the map

Kathreen Fontecha shows off new, energy-efficient lighting solutions designed at the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis in November 2010. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | December 06, 2012 |

For years, whenever I traveled outside of the Sacramento region, whether to Europe, Asia, New York or Los Angeles, when the question was asked “Where are you from?” my answer was always either “Sacramento” or “near San Francisco” or “a small town between SF and Sacramento.”

If ever I said “Davis,” the follow-up question was, “Where’s that?” To which I would reply, “It’s in Yolo County,” which was met by a blank stare.

This is changing; at least in my experience. It seems now that everywhere I go people know about Davis. And why? Mostly because it’s where the University of California at Davis is located.

Did you notice the article in The Enterprise a while back titled “UCD visit inspires Dubai project” about how a property developer from Dubai came to town a few years back as a result of his relationship with the university’s Middle East/South Asia Studies Program?

While he was here, he got a peek at the West Village project, then in its infancy and now rising on the edge of the Davis campus. The visit inspired him, and others, to design an energy-efficient sustainable city in Dubai. Significantly, a result of his return visit last month was an agreement for collaboration on energy efficiency research between UCD and the proposed city.

Did you also notice the recent article in US News and World Report that UCD is now ranked in the top 10 public research universities in the country?

Did you notice that the Sacramento region has recently been recognized as one of the greenest in the United States? While our friends on the other side of the river took this as a feather in their cap, a lot of what makes the “region” green is due to UCD.

Did you notice that UCD was named the “coolest school” by the Sierra Club, beating out such notable institutions as Stanford and Yale? This honor resulted from development, implementation and monitoring of a Climate Action Plan that spans the full range of campus facilities and activities.

Just a few examples: The Smart Lighting Initiative aims to reduce energy used by lighting by 60 percent by 2015; the campus has four LEED platinum certified buildings; 85 percent of students and almost half the faculty walk or bike or ride the bus as their principal means of commuting; and, of course, UCD is the home of the vehicle of the future — the plug-in hybrid that combines the efficiencies of an electric vehicle for around-town use with the range of a gasoline engine for distance driving.

The campus recycling program aims for zero waste, and, as an example of how thorough this is, they don’t just recycle the usual stuff. Over the past year, UCD purchased more than 150,000 pens, and they’ve partnered with Terracyle to collect and “upcycle” pens, highlighters and other plastics that normally would have gone in the trash into usable products. Terracycle awards 2 cents for each implement collected to a charity specified by the university.

UCD is walking the walk and demonstrating leadership by getting its own house in order, but its growing reputation is also due to its expanding role and influence locally, nationally and internationally in policy and research focused on energy efficiency.

UCD has about a zillion (slight exaggeration) research centers and institutes working on all manner of issues related to energy efficiency. Some are fairly well known (Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center; the Institute for Transportation Studies; the Energy Efficiency Center, the Western Center for Cooling Efficiency) and are regularly recognized for their role in both policy and development of new technologies, but there are more than a few I’ll bet you haven’t heard of.

For example, there’s the China Center for Energy and Transportation, a partnership with Chinese universities. The growing number of people in China who own or want to own cars gives special salience to this research into transportation efficiency. There’s the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways, which examines all vehicle fuel technologies and how each might contribute to a low carbon future.

And, don’t forget the UC Pavement Research Center that is researching how to produce “cool pavement” that reduces absorption by roads and parking lots of the sun’s rays and instead reflects that energy back into space.

Tying this together is the UCD Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy (they wisely ignore the acronym and just refer to themselves as the Policy Institute) that takes research off the shelf in the Ivory Tower where it may be gathering dust and hands it over to policy-makers to ensure that government at all levels has the best information possible when considering the incredibly important and complex issues related to energy efficiency and climate change.

Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at UCD and adviser to both the state and federal governments, has referred to UCD as the “premier university in the world for sustainable transportation.” And he should know.

People are noticing. The world is noticing. Davis is on the map.

— John Mott-Smith is a resident of Davis; his column is published on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Send comments to johnmottsmith@comcast.net

Comments

comments

John Mott-Smith

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    School’s back, with gradual return to smaller classes

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New live-work project approved for Del Rio Place

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Marcy finds her place in the DHS Hall of Fame

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Testimony in Marsh trial starts Tuesday

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Lawmakers approve groundwater management bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Quake is major test for hard-luck city

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Russian columns enter Ukraine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Prospective foster parents welcome

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis Media Access: Get involved in community media

    By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A4

     
    ‘Art of Acting’ offered at Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Tai chi classes set at Davis Senior Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Do you have a project for the noon Rotary club?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Learn about Girl Scouting at meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Low-income Davis homeowners can save money and go green

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Employee parking permits downtown streamlined

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

     
     
    Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Stroll Through History highlights Beamer Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    All are welcome at monthly sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Hosts sought to befriend international visitors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Lunch at the big table, again

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Don’t let MRAP be a tool for bigger mistakes

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yes, mother’s milk is best

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Perfectly good playground?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Work on gun control instead

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Military has too much money

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Put flowers in our hair

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Give cops the ability to protect

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    New attitude, new stadium for 2014 UCD field hockey

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Gould, Shaw won’t dwell on it, but Biggs remembers The Upset

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    No. 8 keeps Republic unbeaten streak at 8

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys look to win seventh soccer section title

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Aggie men ranked 11th in water polo poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Dunning picks Cupcake Week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Youth roundup: Judges like what they see from Davis Diamonds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Baseball roundup: Huge inning helps Cats in Nashville

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Local teacher and artist turns 100

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    100 years’ worth of stories

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Arts

    Well-known artist will be juror for exhibition

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A11

     
    Outdoor art classes to close out summer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Ethereal dream pop to illuminate Sophia’s Thai Kitchen

    By Anthony Siino | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, August 28, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6